Roon Nucleus verses Apple Mac Mini M1

Our roon server is current run off a 2012 Mac Mini with an SSD and upgraded RAM. With Big Sur, Apple’s new OS, on the horizon, preparing for the necessity for an upgrade. Any opinions on whether to go with a Nucleus Plus or a Mac Mini M1 (16 GB Ram and SSD)? Thanks!

Go with an Intel NUC and run ROCK is my suggestion.

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I have become a big fan of the single-purpose, appliance approach, so I would advocate Nucleus Plus. Actually, I would advocate a ROCK NUC, which is essentially a home-made Nucleus. Savings will pay for a lifetime subscription to Roon plus several dozen albums.

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I agree with the NUC recommendations, but you don’t actually need to upgrade your system until it becomes an issue. I use a 2009 Mac Mini running Yosemite - with convolution filters, resampling everything to a single sampling frequency, and volume levelling - and its processing power is not an issue.

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Thanks everyone for the NUC recommendations. Been using the dedicated Mini because we had it and were not using it for anything else - it is a single-purpose machine. Any technical reason to use NUC over Mini?

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Thanks GKern. I was wondering when Roon Server would stop working on the current version of Mac OS. Sounds like they have some runway in terms of continued support, so may not be an issue for a year or more.

You describe it as ‘single use’ because you only use it for one purpose. But of course the up coming update and all OS updates are to facilitate everything a Mini can potentially do. So it’s upkeep is multi use even if you only keep it for one thing. A NUC is truly single use with ROCK on it as is Nucleus but the NUC can be deployed for other things if you ever want to. That isn’t to say a new Mini is a bad choice. But if you want truly single purpose there are more suitable options.

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I would suggest NOT to use the Mac Mini M1, at least for now. I believe Roon Core is written for x86_64 based chips (the architecture your current Mac has) and the new M1 is ARM based (the architecture your phone uses). Apple’s Rosetta 2 might make Roon Core “work” on M1, but

  • it is still 1st gen tech that only meant for transition. It might be unstable and buggy. No one outside Apple knows how well it works. If you really want to use the new Mac Mini. At least wait for some extensive third party reviews.
  • Roon Core will not run natively on it until Roon support it. There might be performance penalty.
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I’m also sitting on the fence, need to upgrade my Mac Mini 2011. I use it for several things, not just Roon server.

I guess the first experiences with Roon and the M1 chip will come from people buying the other M1 units, like the new Macbook Air.

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Yes, but most of those presumably will be used as controllers, not for Roon Core.

It does seem rather overkill to spend huge bucks on a dedicated Nucleus when all Roon server has to do for many people is drip a tiny amount of data out and so should be perfectly happy running in the background on a more general purpose machine. By all accounts the M1 is wickedly fast, I pick up mine tomorrow.

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I concur with the others; a NUC running ROCK as a dedicated server appliance is the most elegant and cost effective solution.

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Not really overkill if you want something that you know works. I wonder if Roon have had that hardware in their hands yet?

There should not be any doubt that Roon will work on any reasonably specced pc or Mac.

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My concern with the Nuc or Nucleus is the ability to sync the music. For those that use these devices, how do you manage adding new music to your digital library? Currently, I have my music backed up on a network drive and use chronosync to sync that database with the music on the dedicated roon server SSD drive in a Mac Mini. I never have to touch the mac mini. When I add new FLAC or other music to my main data base, it just syncs overnight. With Nucelus, I assume this is a manual process of adding the music to both a network device and then adding it onto the Nucelus via a Roon OS?

Of course there shouldn’t be. But until anyone can confirm seamless operation with the M1 it is still something of a step into the unknown! Especially as the new devices move away from Intel. Perhaps a question that should be put to Roon?

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The Nucleus (or Roon ROCK on a dedicated NUC) shows up on the network like anything else - I’m not familiar with chronosync but I would assume you just set it up to do what it’s doing now, and point it to move new files from your network drive to the storage folder/drive of the NUC.

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Thanks. If it shows on the network, then a manual move of the music to Nuc/Nucleus will work. Chronosync only works on Mac OS and I am not familiar with a program that will sync across Mac OS and Roon OS (although there may be a market for that!)

On a Mac you could use carbon copy to do this, it’s very easy to configure.

John.

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Yes to CCC.

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